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    Hey Hoop Ballers! This is our inaugural edition of a new article which will present you with the top-10 players in each of the standard eight categories by stat totals from the past week. In addition to showing you the best performers in counting categories, I’ll also give you guys a look at players that helped and hurt your team the most in field goal and free throw percentages.

    Under each category I’ll provide analysis on player performances and whether or not they are trends or anomalies. The purpose of this is to give owners (especially those in head-to-head leagues) some context for their weekly matchups. When you play in a head-to-head league, the weekly chunks may lead to greater variance due to the smaller sample size. Because of this, each week/matchup is a different beast and while your team may excel in free throw shooting, you could have lost last week because you started Otto Porter and DeMar DeRozan.

    The way this list will be formatted will be:

    Player Name (Games Played) – Stat Total

    Points

    1. Kevin Durant (4) – 113
    2. DeMarcus Cousins (3) – 109
    3. Stephen Curry (4) – 106
    4. LaMarcus Aldridge (4) – 101
    5. LeBron James (4) – 97
    6. James Harden (4) – 96
    7. Kemba Walker (4) – 94
    8. Giannis Antetokounmpo (3) – 93
    9. Klay Thompson (4) – 90
    10. Victor Oladipo (3), Nikola Jokic (4) – 86

    You’ll be seeing a lot of Durant and Antetokuonmpo on this list throughout the year as Giannis has a strong chance of finishing first in points per game. Cousins has been on a tear and almost scored the most points last week on only three games and the return of Anthony Davis hasn’t slowed him down. LaMarcus Aldridge’s usage rate is the highest it’s been since he was in Portland and this number will decrease when Kawhi comes back. Enjoy these retro LMA lines while you can and if you’re smart, sell high. Oladipo is being put in the best position to succeed in Indiana and is posting an absurd 31.9% usage rate in the past week. He won’t be a top-15 player all season, but a top-30 finish is well within reach. After a scoreless scare in the first week, Jokic is back on track and will get better with time as the Nuggets incorporate Paul Millsap.

    3s

    1. Ryan Anderson (4) – 18
    2. Eric Gordon (3) – 16
    3. Marco Belinelli (4) – 14
    4. Kevin Durant (4) – 14
    5. Kyle Korver (4) – 13
    6. Wesley Matthews (4) – 13
    7. Kevin Love (4) – 13
    8. Klay Thompson (4) – 13
    9. Otto Porter (4) – 13
    10. Stephen Curry (4) – 12

    Last year the Rockets shot 40.3 3PA/G, this year that number is at 43.6 3PA/G. Ryno and Gordon benefited from Trevor Ariza missing two games, but both players should end the year around three triples a game. If you’re on Houston’s roster you’re going to be on this list eventually. Belinelli has been red hot for over a week and he makes for a better streaming option for 3s than Kyle Korver, but both are fine to have at the end of your roster. Wesley Matthews looks so much better than last year but I’m still skeptical about his ability to maintain a 2.9 3P/G average. Love and Porter are going to continue to gun it from deep out of necessity from their teams and Curry owners are upset that he didn’t hit 20 treys this week.

    Rebounds

    1. Andre Drummond (4) – 64
    2. DeAndre Jordan (3) – 50
    3. Nikola Jokic (4) – 49
    4. DeMarcus Cousins – 48
    5. Kevin Love (4) – 46
    6. Clint Capela (4) – 44
    7. Enes Kanter (3) – 37
    8. Karl-Anthony Towns (3) – 36
    9. Marc Gasol (4) – 36
    10. Giannis Antetokuonmpo (3) – 35

    Drummond is rebounding better than last year and it wouldn’t surprise me to see him lead the league in rebounding again while setting a new career high in boards. Jordan had a pair of 18 board games to vault him to the number two spot while only playing three games. Jokic’s career-high rebounding averages look like they’ll stick as Paul Millsap isn’t going to suck any value out from that department. Capela is also on his way to a breakout season, but he had two six rebound games to go with a career-high 20 this week. He’s still struggling at times to stay on the floor due to foul trouble but if he figures that out, he’ll be a lock for double digit boards.

    Assists

    1. John Wall (4) – 44
    2. LeBron James (4) – 41
    3. James Harden (4) – 40
    4. Russell Westbrook – 38
    5. Stephen Curry (4) – 29
    6. Ben Simmons (3) – 27
    7. Kemba Walker (4) – 26
    8. Darren Collison (4) – 25
    9. Spencer Dinwiddie (4) – 25
    10. Draymond Green (4), Kyle Lowry (3) – 24

    Here you can see how valuable and scarce assists are. The top five players on this list are all first round picks and there’s a significant drop off after Westbrook. Simmons has been unreal and his ability to hand out dimes at such a high rate is going to make him rosterable on any team. Dinwiddie could be a standard league add as he’s shown the ability to consistently dish out assists – his last four games he totaled 4, 11, 6, 4 assists and he’s getting minutes even with D’Angelo Russell healthy.

    Steals

    1. Andre Drummond (4) – 13
    2. DeMar DeRozan (3) – 12
    3. Stephen Curry (4) – 10
    4. Taurean Prince (4) – 9
    5. Otto Porter (4) – 9
    6. T.J. McConnell (3) – 8
    7. Wesley Matthews (4) – 8
    8. Avery Bradley (4) – 8
    9. Kent Bazemore (4) – 8
    10. Gary Harris (4), Ben Simmons (3), Austin Rivers (3), Robert Covington (3), Joe Ingles (3), Tyler Ulis (3), Russell Westbrook (3) – 7

    Drummond has been averaging 2.3 steals in seven games so far and owners are thrilled, hopefully his 1.1 blocks increase as well. Taurean Prince has been inconsistent offensively, but his contributions on the defensive end have been steady and he should be owned in all leagues. McConnell may have some low-end streaming value for assists and steals now that Fultz is out for the foreseeable future. Bazemore is having a nice bounce back year and that’s with his horrid shooting so far, keep him rolling until the wheels all off. Rivers is worth a streaming spot as well for 3s and steals while Ingles should also be owned everywhere.

    Blocks

    1. Rudy Gobert (3) – 11
    2. Pau Gasol (4) – 9
    3. Clint Capela (4) – 8
    4. David West (4) – 8
    5. Jarell Martin (4) – 7
    6. Karl-Anthony Towns (3) – 7
    7. Danny Green (4) – 7
    8. Luc Mbah a Moute (4), Draymond Green (4), Marc Gasol (4), Jakob Poeltl (3), DeAndre Jordan (3) – 6

    After averaging 1 block his first three games, the Stifle Tower averaged 3.67 blocks in week two. He’s been great so far and appears to be safe from a blocks regression. Gasol doesn’t give you flashy box scores but is sitting right outside the top-75 due to his value in boards and blocks. He’s playing less than last year but is producing at an equal rate. I hope the 2% of people who owned Jarell Martin enjoyed his seven blocks last week as that’s a performance that I don’t expect to see often or ever again barring any injuries. Danny Green continues to get it done on the defensive end and should be owned everywhere as he’s averaging a cash counter line of 2/1.5/1.5. Let’s hope he can continue this whenever Kawhi Leonard returns.

    Heat Checks

    1. Clint Capela (4) – 75.9%, 29 FGA
    2. Evan Fournier (3) – 64.3%, 42 FGA
    3. Giannis Antetokuonmpo (3) – 58.7%, 63 FGA
    4. Nikola Jokic (4) – 59.6%, 57 FGA
    5. Pascal Siakam (2) – 77.3%, 22 FGA
    6. Aaron Gordon (3) – 62.2%, 45 FGA
    7. LeBron James (4) – 57.6%, 66 FGA
    8. Steven Adams (3) – 66.7%, 33 FGA
    9. Victor Oladipo (3) – 60.4%, 48 FGA
    10. Kevin Durant (4) – 56.5%, 69 FGA

    Capela and Adams are having wonderful years and their percentages by the year’s end will be nearing .600. Fournier is a fireball right now, shooting 53.9 percent on the year. Pascal Siakam has had two incredible games from the field, but does nothing else and should be left on the wire unless you’re desperate. Giannis is shooting 53.1 percent of his shots within the restricted area and is converting on 82.6 percent of those, the scary thing is I think those numbers are sustainable. If the Greek Freak is going to shoot over .500 on over 20 FGA, he’s earned that nickname. Oladipo won’t continue to shoot 50 percent on the season, but the drop off from that won’t be far.

    Brick Walls

    1. Damian Lillard (3) – 30.4%, 56 FGA
    2. Kyle Lowry (3) – 27.9%, 43 FGA
    3. John Wall (4) – 35.8%, 67 FGA
    4. Kent Bazemore (4) – 33.3%, 54 FGA
    5. Lonzo Ball (3) – 25%, 28 FGA
    6. Denzel Valentine (3) – 30.6%, 36 FGA
    7. Danilo Gallinari (3) – 32.5%, 40 FGA
    8. Terry Rozier (3) – 24%, 25 FGA
    9. Jamal Murray (4) – 37.9%, 58 FGA
    10. Eric Gordon (3) – 38.7%, 62 FGA

    Lillard, Lowry and Wall are much better than this and they’ll figure it out eventually. If you had any combination of those three last week you can shrug off that loss in field goal percentage as an off week. Looking at the rest of the list, these guys are all inefficient chuckers and even with positive regression they’ll probably scrape at 40 percent. They provide value in other categories, but if you’re consistently losing in field goal percentage, you might want to take a look at these percentage sinkers.

    Nash at the line

    1. Stephen Curry (4) – 96.3%, 27 FTA
    2. Kemba Walker (4) – 100%, 19 FTA
    3. Victor Oladipo (3) – 95%, 20 FTA
    4. Danilo Gallinari (3) – 100%, 14 FTA
    5. Nikola Jokic (4) – 100%, 13 FTA
    6. Kyrie Irving (3) – 100%, 13 FTA
    7. Karl-Anthony Towns (3) – 94.1%, 17 FTA
    8. Kevin Love (4) – 88.9%, 27 FTA
    9. Tyler Johnson (3), Jamal Murray (4) – 100%, 10 FTA

    Curry usually averages around 4.5 FTA per game, but is at 7.6 FTA this year. Coach Steve Kerr loves it and it’s been a point of emphasis for the two-time MVP, so this could be a trend that lasts all season. Part of Gallinari’s value is his ability to get to the line frequently and convert at a high clip and he’s finally drawing fouls after a slow first week.

    Ben Wallace at the stripe

    1. DeAndre Jordan (3) – 38.5%, 13 FTA
    2. Blake Griffin (3) – 58.3%, 24 FTA
    3. Mason Plumlee (4) – 53.3%, 15 FTA
    4. Jonathon Simmons (3) – 65.2%, 23 FTA
    5. Andre Drummond (4) – 57.1%, 14 FTA
    6. Kosta Koufos (3) – 57.1%, 14 FTA
    7. Russell Westbrook (3) – 66.7%, 21 FTA
    8. Rudy Gobert (3) – 61.5%, 13 FTA
    9. Otto Porter (4) – 55.6%, 9 FTA
    10. DeMar DeRozan (3) – 72%, 25 FTA

    Griffin has shot above 70 percent at the line in the past four seasons, but his career-high is 76 percent. He’s at 8 FTA per game and that number will likely stick due to his increased offensive role and if he’s only converting 70 percent, it’s actually damaging your percentages. Drummond ended his hot streak at the line but is still shooting above his career average of 38.4 percent. It still isn’t enough and if the attempts increase, teams with Drummond will go back to tanking this category. Porter went 0-for-3 at the line one game which hurt his weekly value but I expect him to climb back to 80 percent. DeRozan had a couple off games and was playing through a sickness so I’ll give the career 82.7 percent free throw shooter a pass. Westbrook has been awful at the line so far this year but I trust him to get back on track as well.

Fantasy News

  • Tim Connelly - Team - Denver Nuggets

    Tim Connelly will remain with the Nuggets as their President of Basketball Operations.

    The Wizards were trying to pry Connelly away from the Nuggets after meeting on Friday, but it seems that Connelly likes where he is and wants no part of a decimated Wizards' team.

    Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter

  • Ryan Saunders - Team - Minnesota Timberwolves

    The Timberwolves and Ryan Saunders have agreed on a multi-year deal to be the head coach.

    Saunders has been an assistant with the Timberwolves since 2014 and was named the interim head coach for Tom Thibodeau after his firing last season. Saunders had a record of 17-25 as head coach, but has been quickly building a reputation of being a player's coach.

    Source: Shams Charania on Twitter

  • Gianluca Pascucci - Team - Minnesota Timberwolves

    The Timberwolves have hired Gianluca Pascucci to be their assistant GM.

    Pascucci was the director of global scouting for the Nets and has developed a relationship with Timberwolves’ president Gersson Rosas while they were in Houston.

    Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter

  • Fred VanVleet - G - Toronto Raptors

    Fred VanVleet needed stitches to close up a gash under his left eye that he sustained in Sunday's Game 3.

    VanVleet ended up going 1-for-11 from the field in 31 minutes, ending up in a major role with Kyle Lowry fouling out with six minutes left in the fourth quarter. He continues to have a terrible offensive postseason, though he did manage to hang tough on the defensive end for the most part. If FVV can get his shot sorted out it would help the Raptors immensely, but him playing this much is not a desirable outcome no matter what.

    Source: Josh Lewenberg on Twitter

  • Kawhi Leonard - F - Toronto Raptors

    Kawhi Leonard led the Raptors with 36 points on 11-of-25 shooting in a game-high 52 minutes of action in a double overtime win over the Bucks in Game 3.

    Leonard scored eight points in the second overtime to finish off the win. The Raptors have now made this a competitive series and have a chance to tie it up at two games in Game 4. Leonard shot 2-of-4 from 3-point territory and added nine rebounds, five assists, two steals and one block to the box score. He will continue to perform well, but the fate of the Raptors rests on the remainder of the team to continuously provide him with support on both ends of the floor.

  • Pascal Siakam - F - Toronto Raptors

    Pascal Siakam had a solid stat line on Sunday, with 25 points and 11 rebounds on 9-of-18 shooting in 51 minutes of action in a double overtime win over the Bucks in Game 3.

    As expected, Siakam bounced back from his underwhelming Game 2 performance with an absolute gem in Game 3. Siakam is proving that he is a force to be reckoned with in this league as he is not shying away from the game's biggest stage. He added one assist, three steals, one block and three 3-pointers to the stat sheet. The Raptors brought the series within one game and have a chance to even up the series on Tuesday night.

  • Marc Gasol - C - Toronto Raptors

    Marc Gasol put up 16 points with 12 rebounds and five blocks in a Game 3 win over the Bucks in double overtime on Sunday.

    He added seven assists and one steal to the box score in his 45 minutes of action. He shot 5-of-10 from the field and 4-of-8 from beyond the arc. This was Gasol's first good game of the series and the Raptors won, so it is safe to say that he can be considered an X-factor for them. The Raptors have a chance to even up the series in Game 4 on Tuesday night.

  • Kyle Lowry - G - Toronto Raptors

    Kyle Lowry put up 11 points on 4-of-7 shooting with four rebounds and five assists before fouling out in the fourth quarter in a Game 3 win over the Bucks on Sunday.

    The Raptors brought the series within one game and Lowry's solid play in regulation helped them pull out the win. Fred VanVleet, who had three points on 1-of-11 shooting, filled in for Lowry in the overtimes and ultimately played well enough for the Raptors to win. Although Lowry receives extensive criticism for his lackluster playoff performances, he is an integral part of the Raptors' team success.

  • Norman Powell - F/G - Toronto Raptors

    Norman Powell put up a playoff-high 19 points on 7-of-13 shooting in 30 minutes of action before fouling out in a 118-112 double overtime win in Game 3 on Sunday.

    There were some rumors prior to the game that Powell would get an increased role for Game 3, and this turned out to be true as he played 30 minutes before the game even reached the first overtime. He thrived in his increased opportunity and was hitting some key shots down the stretch. He added four rebounds, three assists, three 3-pointers and one steal to the box score.

  • Brook Lopez - C - Milwaukee Bucks

    Brook Lopez had a solid performance in Game 3 on Sunday as he put up 16 points and six rebounds on 5-of-10 shooting in a loss to the Raptors in double overtime.

    Lopez has shown up for the Bucks in this series, but he was not able to lead them to a win like he did in Game 1. He added one assist, two steals and three triples to the box score. Lopez has played Marc Gasol very tough in this series, which has forced the Raptors to consider lineup changes. The play of Lopez should not go unnoticed in the overall spectrum of why the Bucks are as good as they are.